For more information on the new federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program, see the “What is direct financial aid?” section below.
Texas government relief guide
To help drivers and delivery people during the COVID-19 crisis, we're gathering up-to-date information about government financial support that you may be eligible for. In this guide, we'll answer important questions and share resources to help you apply.¹
Before you get started, please remember that the official sources of information are state and federal government agencies. We know this process can be complicated and confusing, especially because no one has all the answers yet—including us. We’ll continue to revise this guide as we receive additional information. Check back here over the coming weeks for updates.
Not in Texas? Go here to find information for other locations.
Last updated: August 27, 2020
What types of government financial support are available?
There are a few types of government financial support available, many of them new for independent contractors like you.
In March 2020, the US government passed legislation that may mean you’re eligible for government financial assistance. You’ve probably heard this referred to as the CARES Act. In December 2020, additional legislation was enacted that continued government financial assistance programs. Under this legislation, you may be able to access financial relief for lost earnings due to the COVID-19 pandemic through:
- Loans that may be forgivable
- Direct financial aid available to individuals who have lost income
- Paid leave tax credits
In some cases, it may take several weeks or longer before state agencies process your applications and claims.
What is direct financial aid?
The federal government has made it possible for independent contractors who have lost income due to COVID-19 to access the same kinds of benefits that states traditionally provide to workers who receive W-2s and file for unemployment insurance. You may have heard this federally funded direct financial assistance referred to as Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA).
How much could I receive?
The total amount of financial aid you could receive will depend on your individual circumstances, including your state's calculation and your current and historic earnings.
Are there additional weekly payments I could receive?
In participating states, for any week you collect at least $100 in either federal or state unemployment relief, you may be able to receive an additional $300 through the federal Lost Wages Assistance (LWA) Program. In some states, you may also receive an additional $100 for a total of $400 per week. Payments to eligible individuals are retroactive to the week ending August 1, 2020 and could continue until December 27, 2020. However, you should be aware that this program may end early if funds are no longer available or if Congress enacts new legislation that provides similar supplemental compensation.
Is this related to the $600 per week payments?
Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation (FPUC) provided $600 per week for every week an individual qualified for either federal or state unemployment relief for the weeks ending April 4, 2020 through July 25, 2020. This federal benefit ended and will remain expired unless Congress reinstates the program.
Are payments retroactive?
PUA can go back as far as February 2, 2020, if you qualify and can document a loss of income due to COVID-19 earlier than your filing date.
For how long am I eligible to receive direct financial aid?
Under PUA, you may be able to get up to 39 weeks of PUA payments, until December 31, 2020, from the federal government.
How can I tell if I’m eligible?
You may be eligible for PUA if you’ve lost income due to COVID-19. If you have another source of income where you receive a W-2 form for your taxes, you should check with your state about how to properly file because you may be eligible for regular unemployment insurance. Check the FAQ section below for more details about the COVID-19-related circumstances that might make you eligible for this assistance.
How can I apply for direct financial aid in Texas?
The Texas state government is currently accepting applications from independent contractors for PUA. To prepare for the application:
Have your Social Security number or Taxpayer Identification Number ready
If applicable, download your 1099 form(s) from the 2019 tax year
- Go to your driver dashboard
- Click on the Tax Information tab
- Download your 1099-K and 1099-MISC (due to reporting thresholds, you may not have received one or both of these)
Collect documentation on any other sources of income
Visit your state website to begin your application
- If you’re applying based on lost income as an independent contractor, you should follow your state’s instructions for independent contractors submitting PUA claims, where available.
To avoid unnecessary delays, it's always a good idea before submitting any application to make sure that you are up to date with any legal requirements, including timely filed and paid taxes wherever applicable.
What types of loans and emergency cash advances are available?
The US Small Business Administration (SBA) has 2 programs that are new for independent contractors under the CARES Act. We’ll describe them below, but you can always learn more about these relief options through the SBA website. Update: New COVID relief measures temporarily extends PPP through March 31, 2021 and clarifies that businesses will be able to take tax deductions for otherwise deductible expenses paid with PPP loans.
Paycheck Protection Program (PPP)
This program allows participating banks and lenders to offer forgivable loans to small businesses and independent contractors.
- How much could I receive? You could be eligible for a PPP loan up to 2.5 times your average monthly net self-employment income over the last 12 months.
- Would I have debt to pay back? The PPP loan and interest are 100% forgivable if you apply for loan forgiveness and can document that you used it for authorized purposes. You can apply for loan forgiveness at the end of your loan period (the eight weeks following initial disbursement) by completing this application provided by the SBA and submitting to your lender.
- I've already received one PPP loan, could I receive another? New COVID relief measures provide a second forgivable loan for the hardest-hit small businesses and independent contractors. In order to be eligible for a second loan, you must demonstrate a loss of 25% of gross income in any quarter in 2020 when compared to the same quarter in 2019 and meet other requirements.
- Are PPP loans taxable? A forgiven PPP loan is tax-exempt and is not taxable income.
How can I apply?
PayPal* is currently processing applications for SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans for independent contractors. Learn more and begin your application here. To apply through PayPal, you will need:
- Prepared 1040 Schedule C from 2019 (even if you haven’t yet filed with the IRS)
- 1099-MISC from 2019, If you did not receive a 1099-MISC due to reporting thresholds, you will not be able to complete an application through PayPal at this time
- Copy of a bank statement from 2020
- Other documentation may be requested
BlueVine is another lender currently processing SBA Paycheck Protection Program loans for independent contractors. Learn more and begin your application here. To apply through BlueVine, you will need:
- Prepared 1040 Schedule C from 2019 or 2020 (even if you haven’t yet filed with the IRS)
- Bank statements
- Average monthly payroll costs
- Other documentation may be requested
- There are many lenders processing PPP loan applications. Here are some resources for finding a lender:
- Ask your bank or credit union whether they’re processing PPP loan applications for independent contractors. This program is optional for lenders, so not all financial institutions are processing these applications.
- Find an approved lender using this SBA tool. Once you find an approved lender, ask what documentation you’ll need to apply. Some lenders may not require a 1099-MISC.
Economic Injury Disaster Loan (EIDL)
This program allows small businesses and independent contractors to apply for a non-forgivable EIDL loan.
- Would I have debt to pay back? The EIDL loan will need to be repaid, plus interest. You can find more information on the loan terms on the SBA website.
- How can I apply? You can apply for a loan through the EIDL program on the SBA website. The US Chamber of Commerce also has a helpful step-by-step guide.
We think it’s important for you to know that there are a few types of government assistance available, some of which may prevent you from receiving others. For example, if you receive a PPP loan, you may not be eligible for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA) for the duration of your loan. This can be a complicated and tough decision, so we encourage you to take time to consider what is best for you.
What are paid leave tax credits?
Signed on March 18, 2020, the Families First Coronavirus Response Act provides tax credits to small businesses and independent contractors for leave due to circumstances related to COVID-19. This means that you may be able to claim paid leave tax credits that could lower your tax liability or even make you eligible for a refund.
What circumstances qualify?
If you’re unable to work due to self-quarantine or because you or a family member are sick, or because you must provide child care due to closures caused by COVID-19, you could be eligible. Leave taken between April 1, 2020, and December 31, 2020, could qualify.
How much would the tax credits be worth?
The amount of tax credits will vary based on location and circumstance. More information is available from the IRS under the “Overview of Paid Sick Leave Refundable Credit,” “Overview of Paid Family Leave Refundable Credit,” and “Specific Provisions Related to Self-Employed Individuals” (FAQ 60-66) sections.
How can I receive the tax credits?
If you have additional questions about this program or your tax circumstances, you should speak to a licensed tax adviser.
Where can I find more information?
No one has all the answers right now, but here are some helpful resources from Uber, our partners, and government agencies.
This tool can help you determine eligibility and automate much of the application process, then facilitate the federal relief application process and, in coordination with the SBA, disburse PPP funds, allowing quick access to relief. QuickBooks Capital will be able to begin processing PPP loan applications soon.
Frequently asked questions
- What kind of circumstances would make me eligible for PUA?
According to Department of Labor guidance, you may be eligible for PUA if you are authorized to work in the US, not otherwise eligible for traditional unemployment benefits, and certify that you are available to work but not able to work because of circumstances related to COVID-19 that include, but aren’t limited to:
- You are diagnosed with COVID-19 or recommended to quarantine by a health professional
- A household member has been diagnosed with COVID-19
- You must care for a family or household member diagnosed with COVID-19
- You are the primary caregiver for a child or other household member whose normal activities are disrupted by the COVID-19 public health emergency
- You are unable to reach your place of employment because of imposed quarantine or recommended self-quarantine due, for example, to a compromised immune system
- Your business has been forced to suspend operations due to the COVID-19 pandemic because an emergency state or municipal order restricting movement makes continued operations unsustainable
In addition, as an independent contractor with reportable income, you may also qualify for PUA if you are unemployed, partially employed, or unable or unavailable to work because the COVID-19 public health emergency has severely limited your ability to continue performing your customary work activities, forcing you to suspend those activities.
- Do I need to have stopped driving completely in order to be eligible for PUA?
- Can I still drive or deliver while I’m collecting PUA?
Yes, but note that your state may require you to report earnings on a weekly basis, and PUA benefits only apply if you can demonstrate that your income is reduced.
- I am applying for a green card. Is my green card status at risk if I apply for these benefits?
We know this is complicated, and we recommend contacting an immigration professional such as an attorney who can review your eligibility and specific immigration situation. The Department of Justice has a list of pro bono legal service providers that may be helpful.
- I still have my full-time job, but I can’t drive or deliver using Uber because of the pandemic. Can I still get relief for my lost income from driving or delivering?
As of April 17, 2020, federal guidance hasn’t been issued on this question, which means that different states may handle this scenario differently. You can visit your state Department of Labor website for guidance on whether you can make claims for lost income from work as an independent contractor that is additional to your W-2 income.
- I lost my full-time job and am currently getting unemployment payments. Can I also apply for relief as an independent contractor?
If you qualify for or are already receiving traditional unemployment insurance, you may not be eligible for PUA. You should visit your state website for additional guidance.
- I received non-government financial assistance. Can I still apply for PUA?
You can still apply for PUA, but if you received financial aid that replaced lost income, you may need to report it on your application.
- Are the funds I receive through PUA taxable?
Yes. Unemployment assistance is taxable.
- Will my Uber account be deactivated if I apply for unemployment benefits?
No. Any decisions you make to apply for government financial support will have no impact on the status of your account.
- The unemployment/PUA application asks for contact information of all past employers. What contact information do I use for Uber?
You are considered an independent contractor, not an employee, based on your agreement with Uber. You should not have to provide contact information for companies that you do not have an employment relationship with -- depending on how your state collects information on this question, you could do one of the following:
- Select “no” if there is a drop-down menu
- If you operate under an LLC or other structure, you could list that information
- If you operate as a sole proprietor, you could list your personal information
- What kind of documentation will I need to provide to qualify for a PPP loan?
- If I receive an EIDL Emergency Advance, will I still be able to apply for a PPP loan?
Yes, if you receive an EIDL Emergency Advance, you are still able to apply for a PPP loan. Based on SBA guidance, if you received an EIDL loan between January 31, 2020, and April 3, 2020, the amount will be deducted from the total amount that you could borrow through a PPP loan. However, because an EIDL Emergency Advance does not have to be paid back, it doesn't impact your total borrowable PPP amount.
- If I receive a PPP loan, will I still be able to file for unemployment benefits?
We’re working on finding a clear answer to this question, but as of April 17, 2020, federal guidance has not addressed whether individuals who received a PPP loan could later receive PUA.
- I received a loan through the Paycheck Protection Program. Can I still drive or deliver?
Yes. However, make sure to consult with your lender to ensure you understand all the steps you will need to take to qualify for loan forgiveness of a Paycheck Protection Program loan.
- I had a W-2 job that I lost due to COVID, but a majority of my earnings are from driving and/or delivering using Uber. Am I eligible for PUA?
Even if your income as an independent contractor was more than your W-2 income, federal guidance states that PUA is only available to individuals who are not eligible for traditional unemployment benefits. This means that you will not be eligible for PUA if you are receiving or are eligible to receive traditional unemployment. But if your W-2 income does not meet the minimum monetary requirements for traditional unemployment, you have exhausted traditional unemployment, or are otherwise ineligible for traditional unemployment, you may be eligible for PUA.
¹The material provided on this page does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal, financial, tax, or other advice. It is for informational purposes only. Please consult your attorney or financial adviser to obtain advice with respect to your particular situation. For your convenience, this page contains links to third-party websites. Uber is not responsible for the content in those third-party sites or the products or services offered through them. While we will make every effort to keep this site up to date, for the most current information please see the respective governmental or organizational sites.